Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Alert the Army: Treating COVID-19 Seriously

 

There is a large untapped pool of federal workers, highly trained and disciplined, who already know a thing or two about operating safely in a contaminated environment. These personnel may be among your neighbors, the ones who put on a military uniform at least one weekend a month. There are already contingency plans for them to respond to domestic mass casualty situations involving radiation, biological, or chemical agents. They have been training since the months after September 11, 2001. They should be alerted now, and staff should be mobilized immediately to refine contingency plans to match the worst case and most likely case scenarios for COVID-19 in the United States.

In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, Army Chemical Corps units, whose core mission had always been decontamination of U.S. military personnel and equipment from radioactive dust, biological, and chemical agents, had a new mission. They would perform the same scouting/surveillance to define a contaminated area’s boundaries and they would perform the decontamination mission, including for people who had become casualties, the end of the decon line becoming the beginning of the medical treatment line. The same mission, only different: instead of “green” equipment, they would go “white” as in medical and civilian lab white, responding to mass casualty incidents inside the United States. They do not carry weapons, because it is not a military threat environment.

Most of these units are in the Army Reserve or National Guard, so they are distributed across the country already. So are the many medical units that are overwhelmingly in the U.S. Army Reserve, but medical personnel are already going to be needed in their communities in their civilian medical roles. Watch for news around the 76th Operational Response Command, headquartered in Utah.

To be clear, medical personnel, who are mostly in the Reserves, are already going to be needed in their full-time medical jobs. The need here is not for decontamination but for potential large scale patient handling, in which it would be helpful to bring in a set of “orderlies” who are well versed in working in full protective suits and in not compromising themselves or others in the process of entering and exiting areas with potential biological contamination (quarantine area). Hence, the Chemical Corps soldiers and officers whose training is not far off the CDC protocols already.

Vice President Pence should be grabbing the top brass, including the relevant Army Reserve generals, by the lapels and demanding a contingency plan to mobilize soldiers who are already trained in the disciplined wearing of protective equipment and in observing and maintaining procedures that limit and isolate contamination. Anticipating the CDC and US Public Health Service personnel may well need qualified bodies, to deliver meals, linens and help in movement or processing of larger numbers of infected or potentially infected individuals, our military should already be leaning forward tonight.

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  1. EHerring Coolidge

    The military doesn’t have enough medical people to treat the military and dependents/ retirees. They are about to kick them out of on base medical facilities, forcing them to seek out doctors on the economy, doctors who will accept Tricare. I was kicked out as soon as I was eligible for Medicare.

    To decontaminate, you would have to be able to detect contamination. A virus that incubates for days before one shows symptoms is an interesting case.

    • #1
    • February 27, 2020, at 7:59 PM PST
    • 3 likes
  2. Clifford A. Brown Contributor
    Clifford A. Brown

    EHerring (View Comment):

    The military doesn’t have enough medical people to treat the military and dependents/ retirees. They are about to kick them out of on base medical facilities, forcing them to seek out doctors on the economy, doctors who will accept Tricare. I was kicked out as soon as I was eligible for Medicare.

    To decontaminate, you would have to be able to detect contamination. A virus that incubates for days before one shows symptoms is an interesting case.

    Thanks for the comment. I’ve updated the post as follows:

    To clarify, I specified that medical personnel, who are mostly in the Reserves, are already going to be needed in their full time medical jobs. The need here is not for decontamination but for anticipated large scale patient handling, in which it would be helpful to bring in a set of “orderlies” who are well versed in working in full protective suits and in not compromising themselves or others in the process of entering and exiting areas with potential biological contamination (quarantine area). Hence, the Chemical Corps soldiers and officers whose training is not far off the CDC protocols already.

    • #2
    • February 27, 2020, at 11:04 PM PST
    • 5 likes
  3. EHerring Coolidge

    Clifford A. Brown (View Comment):

    EHerring (View Comment):

    The military doesn’t have enough medical people to treat the military and dependents/ retirees. They are about to kick them out of on base medical facilities, forcing them to seek out doctors on the economy, doctors who will accept Tricare. I was kicked out as soon as I was eligible for Medicare.

    To decontaminate, you would have to be able to detect contamination. A virus that incubates for days before one shows symptoms is an interesting case.

    Thanks for the comment. I’ve updated the post as follows:

    To clarify, I specified that medical personnel, who are mostly in the Reserves, are already going to be needed in their full time medical jobs. The need here is not for decontamination but for anticipated large scale patient handling, in which it would be helpful to bring in a set of “orderlies” who are well versed in working in full protective suits and in not compromising themselves or others in the process of entering and exiting areas with potential biological contamination (quarantine area). Hence, the Chemical Corps soldiers and officers whose training is not far off the CDC protocols already.

    Yep. For that, most any military person could fill the bill if assigned to combat coded units. Would be great training for operating under chem/bio attack scenarios because they would be diligent about mask seals and discipline knowing germs were present. I bet all those beards and turbans would be ditched to make it happen. With a small face and a man’s mask, I found it to be a struggle back in the day. I had to drop my chin for a good seal. Also, it had many elastic straps to tighten and they all caught strands of hair. It was painful taking the mask off because I would lose 7-10 hairs each time. I finally started getting real short haircuts before exercises.

     

    • #3
    • February 28, 2020, at 5:21 AM PST
    • 4 likes
  4. Boss Mongo Member

    Concur that military personnel, whether active, reserve, or guard could lend tremendous assistance, if only for the discipline and shared planning paradigm they bring to the table–let alone those with expertise in CBRNE consequence management.

    I’m a fan of high adventure, but one of the must extreme things I’ve ever done was a CRIMSON OWL training event. We jumped into Ft. McClellan*, got into MOP 4, and entered a gas chamber–with a couple of goats–and they pumped in nerve gas. We stood there, safe and praying, while the goats did the kickin’ chicken. Going into the chamber I have never checked the seal on my mask more assiduously. 

    When we exited the chamber, we went through a full deliberate decon. I have enormous respect for or CBRNE subject matter experts, and am certain COL Brown’s assessment is correct.

    *Now, I think due to the BRAC, the home of the Chemical Corps is at Ft. Leonard Wood.

    • #4
    • February 28, 2020, at 6:37 AM PST
    • 5 likes
  5. James Gawron Thatcher
    James Gawron Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Cliff,

    If it’s a question of money, I’d take all the idiot subsidies away from Solar, Wind, Electric Cars..etc. and pump the money directly into the budget for fighting epidemics.

    There is no Global Warming but there is a Coronavirus. This country needs to stop the lefty ideology and get down to real problem-solving and do it right now.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #5
    • February 28, 2020, at 9:14 AM PST
    • 6 likes
  6. MarciN Member

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    There is no Global Warming but there is a Coronavirus.

    I have been completely skeptical of the global-warming nonsense until now. I am wondering now, however, if this globally mild winter is exacerbating the spread of this virus. I doubt it is a permanent change in the weather, but it appears to be at least some sort of change and would explain the virus’s long life in some places.

    It is such a tragedy that with our scientific knowledge and expertise and equipment, the scientific community has become too political to be believed. It is so frustrating.

    • #6
    • February 28, 2020, at 11:31 AM PST
    • 2 likes
  7. Gazpacho Grande' Coolidge

    MarciN (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):
    There is no Global Warming but there is a Coronavirus.

    I have been completely skeptical of the global-warming nonsense until now. I am wondering now, however, if this globally mild winter is exacerbating the spread of this virus. I doubt it is a permanent change in the weather, but it appears to be at least some sort of change and would explain the virus’s long life in some places.

    It is such a tragedy that with our scientific knowledge and expertise and equipment, the scientific community has become too political to be believed. It is so frustrating.

    Funny, we always hear about the warmest months on record (knowing that they only reach back a few hundred years, at most, which is not even an atomic semi-slice of time in geologic terms). No one sounds the climate alarm when it’s the coldest on record.

    Unless they’re just saying “climate change“, which means, well, anything, and we certainly shouldn’t be treating data from one month out of one year as indicative of anything.

    Hell, if it’s a sunny January, I sneeze more in the sun. Does sunny weather contribute to the spread of airborne viruses/virusii? I don’t know, but I’m sure Vox will have an article on it, soon.

     

     

     

    • #7
    • February 28, 2020, at 1:26 PM PST
    • 4 likes
  8. EHerring Coolidge

    Boss Mongo (View Comment):

    Concur that military personnel, whether active, reserve, or guard could lend tremendous assistance, if only for the discipline and shared planning paradigm they bring to the table–let alone those with expertise in CBRNE consequence management.

    I’m a fan of high adventure, but one of the must extreme things I’ve ever done was a CRIMSON OWL training event. We jumped into Ft. McClellan*, got into MOP 4, and entered a gas chamber–with a couple of goats–and they pumped in nerve gas. We stood there, safe and praying, while the goats did the kickin’ chicken. Going into the chamber I have never checked the seal on my mask more assiduously.

    When we exited the chamber, we went through a full deliberate decon. I have enormous respect for or CBRNE subject matter experts, and am certain COL Brown’s assessment is correct.

    *Now, I think due to the BRAC, the home of the Chemical Corps is at Ft. Leonard Wood.

    Wow. I thought I had a tough training session when they made us go into a dark chamber full of tear gas, mask off, and then don and purge mask once the gas had us gasping and tearing. Can’t see, can’t breathe…urge is to rip it off and run out. You must make yourself breathe and let the air in the mask purge. We always hoped for a good breeze to air out our chem suits once we exited the chamber. Goats and real nerve agent….wow, just wow. I used the times I sprayed roaches with Raid to remind myself of what would happen if I didn’t know how to don and seal the mask.

    • #8
    • February 29, 2020, at 9:16 AM PST
    • 4 likes